Col. Shai Kleper will be the new commander of the Golani Brigade, the Israel Defense Forces announced on Monday.
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Kleper, who began his military service in Golani’s reconnaissance unit, has formerly served as the commander of the Samaria territorial brigade in the northern West Bank and the commander of the live-fire training center at Tze’elim.
In 2003, while he was the commander of a Golani engineering company, Kleper was put on disciplinary trial because troops under his command shot live bullets at demonstrators protesting the West Bank separation barrier. Two people, an Israeli and an American, were wounded. The Military Police investigated the incident, but Avichai Mendelblit – the current attorney general who was the military advocate general at the time – decided that those involved in the shooting should face disciplinary charges rather than criminal ones, which wouldn’t affect their military careers.
The investigation found that the soldiers arrived at the scene of the demonstration without any nonlethal crowd control equipment. The protest, which took place near the settlement of Elkana, developed into a confrontation between the soldiers and dozens of Palestinian, Israeli and foreign demonstrators. One soldier received authorization to shoot at the demonstrators and wounded an Israeli man and an American woman. Kleper, the deputy company commander and two soldiers eventually faced disciplinary charges for the incident.
The IDF also announced several other appointments on Monday, though these still require the defense minister’s approval. Col. Amir, currently commander of Sde Dov Airbase, will be promoted to brigadier general and will serve as head of the Air Force intelligence squadron, while Col. Yair Barkat of the Nahal Brigade will become a brigadier general and will take command of the Military Police.